The popular computer game, Guitar Hero has been used in a sleep study, as it requires complex motor skills that simulate the real-world effects of daily activities. Guitar Hero is a computer game that involves matching coloured bands across the screen and playing a song that corresponds with varying precision on a make-shift guitar.
Scientists from Trent University in Ontario tested students at 9am on a Guitar Hero song that they had learned the previous night at 9pm. This group of students showed three times more improvement in their scores compared with students who carried out the same test but remained in a ‘wakeful condition’.
Researchers also found that the accuracy at which students hit the correct musical notes on the game increased by seven per cent, compared to students in a ‘wakeful condition’, who carried out the same test and only improved by two percent. Although the results do not seem immediately significant, they demonstrate a link between sleep duration and motor learning.
Co-author, Kevin Peters commented “This clearly shows if you’re not getting enough rest, you’re not going to be learning as well as you could be”
The study uses a contemporary medium to demonstrate how the retention of learned information and reactivity is aided by sleep, which helps to process and cement information and heighten skills.